The Bay Every good story starts local. So that's where we start. The Bay is storytelling for daily news. KQED host Devin Katayama talks with reporters to help us make sense of what's happening in the Bay Area. One story. One conversation. One idea.
The Bay

The Bay

From KQED

Every good story starts local. So that's where we start. The Bay is storytelling for daily news. KQED host Devin Katayama talks with reporters to help us make sense of what's happening in the Bay Area. One story. One conversation. One idea.

Most Recent Episodes

A Mural That Doesn't Age Well: The Debate Over the George Washington Murals in S.F.

Can an artist's original intentions withstand the test of time and modern sentiment? A mural at George Washington High School in San Francisco — that some have described as degrading; others have called it historic — will be obscured from public view. The question is how? The muralist Victor Arnautoff intended to tell a genuine story of George Washington's life and criticize America's racist history by showing the country's founding father with enslaved black people and slain Native Americans. It was painted during the 1930's New Deal era with federal Works Progress Administration funding. The fresco spreads across a large wall inside George Washington High School located in the city's Richmond District. The mural has been contentious since the 1960's when people argued its racist depictions of Black and Native people were dehumanizing and demeaning. In the 1970s, another artist Dewey Crumpler was commissioned to paint additional murals, so-called response murals inside the school. In the last year, a group of historians, artists and high school alumni applied to have the city designate the high school a historic landmark, which would have made removing the George Washington mural hard to do. The San Francisco school board has held many meetings about what to do with the murals. People of color in the community have told San Francisco school board members that the George Washington mural should be removed. While some artists, historians and alumni argue that would be an act of censorship. After much debate, the San Francisco school board members will vote Tuesday on how to go about covering the mural. For more on this story, click the "listen" button above to hear an interview with KQED Arts reporter Sam Lefebvre who has written about the murals. Subscribe to The Bay to hear more local, Bay Area stories like this one. New episodes are released Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 3 a.m. Find The Bay on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, NPR One, or via Alexa.

A Mural That Doesn't Age Well: The Debate Over the George Washington Murals in S.F.

A Migrant's Journey from El Salvador to the Bay Area

President Trump on Monday announced that federal immigration officers were gearing up for deportations next week. Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf responded by urging her community to be prepared. It's unclear whether the federal government is even capable of widespread raids or deportations, and who exactly they're targeting. Trump administration officials have said their immigration policies are meant to deter migrants, many traveling from Central American countries, from coming to the U.S. Today, we'll revisit an episode from December about one family's arduous migrant journey from El Salvador to the Bay Area. Guest: Farida Jhabvala Romero, immigration reporter for KQED Subscribe to The Bay to hear more local, Bay Area stories like this one. New episodes are released Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 3 a.m. Find The Bay on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, NPR One, or via Alexa.

The Woman Who Kept Juneteenth Alive in San Francisco

San Francisco's Juneteenth, a commemoration of the end of slavery, is one of the largest gatherings of African Americans in California every year. This year's Juneteenth parade was named in honor of Rachel Townsend, a leader in San Francisco's black community who died of sudden illness in 2018. Townsend was active in San Francisco and Oakland politics and fought to keep Juneteenth in San Francisco despite the city's shrinking black population. "The Juneteenth festival wouldn't have even happened all of those years had it not been for Rachel Townsend," said San Francisco Mayor London Breed in December 2018. That's when the city rededicated a Western Addition affordable housing complex after Townsend, honoring her work in the community. Townsend attended her first Juneteenth when she was three. Even as a kid, her father said she was a leader with a big heart. One of the things she was most proud of was her work at a local San Francisco church, working with young girls without fathers. She campaigned for black local candidates like London Breed, advocating for diverse political representation. "If she sees something undone or not being done correctly, she doesn't complain, she just gets in the middle of it," said Rev. Arnold Townsend, vice president of San Francisco's NAACP and Rachel Townsend's father. "That's who she was: she was an organizer." Townsend grew up in Oakland and was surrounded by political activism in San Francisco. Her dad, vice president of San Francisco's NAACP, said Townsend grew up at a time of rapid change in San Francisco's black communities. At its peak in the 1970s, around 13 percent of the city was black. That's compared to just about 5 percent in 2017. Rachel Townsend's father says events and buildings named after his daughter are a great honor and a reminder of the city's black history. "Even at this time when our population is dwindling, and it looks so hopeless, there will always be a black presence," said Rev. Townsend. "It's to mark that we were once here. Some child is going to always ask: who was she? Who was Rachel Townsend?" Rachel Townsend (left) with her father, Rev. Arnold Townsend (right). (Courtesy of Rev. Arnold Townsend) Guest: Rev. Arnold Townsend, father to Rachel Townsend, Board Member of the African American Art and Culture Complex, and Vice President of the San Francisco NAACP Subscribe to The Bay to hear more local, Bay Area stories like this one. New episodes are released Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 3 a.m. Find The Bay on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, NPR One, or via Alexa.

The Price of Owning the Power Grid

Environmental activists in San Francisco have long called for the city to have its own public power system. The idea never took off until PG&E went bankrupt, again, in January. The private utility company owns most of the power grid that delivers the city's power, but S.F. leaders worry PG&E will raise rates and prioritize profits over reliable, safe power. Now city leaders are looking at buying PG&E lines, and are considering what it would take if San Francisco ran power on its own grid. The city will discuss Monday it whether to move forward with a study into how San Francisco could go about operating its own system. Guest: Lisa Pickoff-White, KQED data reporter Below is a map of public power in California Subscribe to The Bay to hear more local, Bay Area stories like this one. New episodes are released Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 3 a.m. Find The Bay on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, NPR One, or via Alexa.

From Quentin to the Kitchen: Preparing for Life After Prison in the Bay Area

Formerly incarcerated people who can't find work within the first year of their release face a 52 percent chance of returning to prison. Those who do find work have a better chance of staying out. "Coming out, it's kind of hard having to ask people for a second chance," said Joel McCarter, who was released from San Quentin State Prison in 2017. While serving time there, he enrolled in one of the many rehabilitation and transitional programs at the state prison — Quentin Cooks. The 12-week culinary class teaches inmates kitchen and cooking skills. It also helps them get certified to work in the food service industry, so they can apply for jobs and work when they get out of prison. The program has held five 12-week sessions since it was started in 2016 by baker Helaine "Lainy" Melnitzer and Lisa Dombroski, who is a former chef. The two noticed a worker shortage in the Bay Area food industry, and thought a culinary training class for inmates could help. Kerry Rudd (center) and Aaron Tillis (right) prepare and cook shrimp for the fifth graduation dinner of the Quentin Cooks program on May 22, 2019. (Stephanie Lister/KQED) "We need employment and people won't judge them for their past and their tattoos," said Melnitzer. After going through the course, McCarter landed a job at Smoke Berkeley, a barbecue joint in the East Bay. He visited inmates at San Quentin recently during one of the program's graduating dinner sessions to tell others about how he's been able to transition with the program's help. Joel McCarter, a graduate of the Quentin Cooks program at San Quentin State Prison, now works at Smoke Berkeley. (Stephanie Lister/KQED) "We don't care about your past. As long as you're able and willing to come to work, there's a job for you," he said. "They give everybody hope and let them know that we don't have to go back to our crazy ways. There are other opportunities out there for us now." But there are challenges that rehabilitation and transitional programs can't prepare you for; that is, the shock of being released into a Bay Area that looks and feels very different from the one you left. "Every other block was a tent city, and that was mind blowing," McCarter said about being back in Oakland after prison. "I have never thought I would see that in Oakland." Restaurant employers in the Bay Area are struggling to keep talent around because of the high cost of housing. More and more, people who work in the food service industry are finding it difficult to live near their jobs. The building that houses Smoke Berkeley, where McCarter works, has since been sold. The restaurant's owner says they have until July 31 to leave the property, and what will happen of McCarter's job is now unclear. Alvis Taylor shows off his ServSafe Food Handler's Certificate which comes in his diploma for graduation from the Quentin Cooks culinary program at San Quentin State Prison on May 22, 2019. (Stephanie Lister/KQED) Read more about Quentin Cooks and see photos of the participants in Mary Franklin's story. Click the "listen" button above to hear this story in podcast form, or find The Bay on your favorite podcast app. Subscribe to The Bay to hear more local, Bay Area stories like this one. New episodes are released Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 3 a.m. Find The Bay on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, NPR One, or via Alexa.

From Quentin to the Kitchen: Preparing for Life After Prison in the Bay Area

Why San Francisco Wants to Stop Charging Inmates for Phone Calls

The cost of going to jail is both personal and financial. That's exacerbated by the price of phone calls from the inside. In San Francisco, a 15-minute phone call can cost $2.10. Other jails charge about $5. And it's often the family and friends of incarcerated people who pay these fees; often they are women of color and low-income people. So, San Francisco plans to eliminate fees for phone calls from jails, and will stop marking up the cost of items such as toiletries and food at the commissary. The proposal is personal for Mayor London Breed whose family members have served time in jail. She sees it as a form of rehabilitation that can improve inmate behavior and help people reenter society. Guest: Marisa Lagos, correspondent for KQED's Politics and Government Desk

A 'Surreal' and Emotional Graduation for Paradise High

"Surreal" is the word Paradise High School seniors used over and over again to describe their graduation months after the deadly Camp Fire that leveled most of the town. Most of the students lost homes in the fire, the most deadly and destructive fire in recorded California history. Last week's ceremony was the first time most students had set foot on campus since they were forced to evacuate. We hear from students whose sense of normalcy was restored, at least for an evening. Guest: Jeremy Siegel, KQED reporter Click the "listen" button above to hear the interview. Or find the episode on your favorite podcast app. Read Jeremy's story about twins Kirsten-Grace and Nicholas Baker graduating together from Paradise High, and see photos of the moving graduation ceremony. Subscribe to The Bay on any of your favorite podcast apps to hear more local, Bay Area stories like this one. New episodes are released Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 3 a.m. Find The Bay on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, NPR One, or via Alexa.

Teachers Strike Close to Graduation Leaves Students in Limbo

The New Haven Teachers Association rejected an offer Thursday from district leaders hoping to put an end to a 14-day teachers strike at the East Bay school district. The ongoing stalemate over pay comes as the end of the school year nears, leaving high-schoolers and graduating seniors in limbo. The New Haven Teachers Association, representing more than 560 teachers, are in the middle of their first teachers strike in the district's more than 50-year history. "This is unprecedented here," said Joseph Geha, a reporter for the James Logan High School in Union City, June 6, 2019. (Ericka Cruz Guevarra/KQED) East Bay Times and Mercury News. "These are kids who are missing 12, 13 days of education at the end of the year; some who are trying to move onto college and might have some conditional acceptance letter." Students who wait on the final weeks of school to make up assignments, take their final exams and work with teachers to boost their grades aren't able to bet on that after all. Few students are showing up to school at all as their teachers hold picket lines outside of campus. "There are a lot of students who are like, right on the edge," said Christian Weaver, a senior at James Logan High School. "Especially seniors who are right on the edge of being able to graduate. But they need just like two more points in their grade to be able to do that, and the final is kind of their last hope." The strike, which began on May 20, has turned into a stalemate over pay. Teachers at the district, which serves schools in Union City and South Hayward, are among the highest paid in Alameda County. But they say they live in one of the most expensive areas in the country, and that their salaries are offset by the fact that they have to pay for their own health insurance. Higher wages would help live and work in the communities they teach in, teachers say. With final exams slated to start Monday, students stood alongside teachers at the picket line during the ninth day of the strike on May 31, 2019. (Sruti Mamidanna/KQED) The union initially asked for a 20-percent pay raise over two years. Both sides have since traded deals back and forth, but the teachers union has so far rejected all offers from the district. The union has since reduced its demands to a 6 percent total raise for the 2019-20 school year. They're also asking to be compensated for all the days they've been on the picket lines. "Now what you have is this big state of limbo, especially for younger classmen who don't even know if they're going to have a final exam next week, or if they're going to have some sort of free time off," Geha said. "No one, whether it be the district or the teachers, have said that they want students to pay academically for this strike." Click the "listen" button above to hear more details about the strike and the students at New Haven School District. Subscribe to The Bay on any of your favorite podcast apps to hear more local, Bay Area stories like this one. New episodes are released Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 3 a.m. Find The Bay on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, NPR One, or via Alexa.

The Exploitation of Creative People and Their Passions

It's hard enough to live, work and survive in the Bay Area. But people whose work is their passion often make additional sacrifices to do what they love. Many of you shared stories of "passion exploitation" after KQED Arts published an article in March about how San Francisco's Apple store paid in-store performers with merchandise instead of cash. It turns out there's research that shows creative people can be vulnerable to passion exploitation. Guest: Nastia Voynovskaya, music editor with KQED Arts. Click the "listen" button above to hear the interview with Nastia, or find the episode on your favorite podcast app. If you would like to share your story with Nastia and KQED, complete this short survey. Subscribe to The Bay on any of your favorite podcast apps to hear more local, Bay Area stories like this one. New episodes are released Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 3 a.m. Find The Bay on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, NPR One, or via Alexa.

Mental Healthcare for All?

It's not uncommon to see people struggling with mental health in San Francisco. People experiencing the trauma of homelessness often have their worst days unfold on city streets. San Francisco supervisors plan to introduce a November ballot proposal this week to let voters decide whether to offer universal mental health care for all residents. It would make San Francisco one of the first cities in the nation to do this. The city's homeless are top of mind, but so are everyday San Franciscans who have trouble accessing care — even with insurance. Guest: April Dembosky, KQED health reporter Click the "listen" button above to hear the interview. Or find the episode on your favorite podcast app. Subscribe to The Bay on any of your favorite podcast apps to hear more local, Bay Area stories like this one. New episodes are released Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 3 a.m. Find The Bay on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, NPR One, or via Alexa.

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